Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Must hitch up, time to hitch up!

I paused my War and Peace quest this past week. Hitting page 1000 made me realize that I've really been progressing through it at a steady clip, and it will be over before I know it. I am going to miss this little world that I've entered, and I will miss the characters I've come to know, and I will truly miss gaining all my little insights from it. But mostly I will miss just being in it, experiencing it finally after years of considering taking the plunge.

You are welcome to read the above paragraph as if it is about Korea instead of War and Peace. It might well be.

Today I brought the book with me to work, and thus had it with me after work, reading it on the subway to and from downtown this evening. I feel like I'm getting reacquainted with Ellen and Pierre and everyone. Pierre basically left Borodino shaking his head and asking "What the...?" Boy is he going through some emotional-philosophical upheaval!

Tonight on the subway I met a guy from Afghanistan. ! I mean, who ever meets someone from Afghanistan? It was really, really interesting to talk to him. I hope we can become friends. The weirdest thing -- apart from the very fact of having a conversation with someone from Afghanistan -- was that we automatically had something in common being foreigners in Korea. That's how bizarre it is, at times, to be here.

Naturally, the conversation at one point touched on Bush and American soldiers. (Those being two VERY different things, of course.) That was interesting, too.

So Pierre has left Borodino and seems to be ready to just say, what IS this? What are we all doing, and why, and how? Count Rostopchin gets into it with him about the proclamation, and Pierre simply stands there, his expression not changing. I imagine after what he's just witnessed, a little thing like this bigwig warning him off seems utterly ridiculous, although he likely will have to disappear.

Prior to that, with no room at the inn, Pierre dozes in his carriage dreaming of sitting at the table with his benefactor and many others, epiphanic wisdom floating into his brain. Tolstoy captures so well that sensation of waking up and then trying to get back into your dream, and how disappointing it is when the scene changes.

I feel bad for him about his crazy wife, but I did like that he didn't seem to care one whit about indulging in conversation about it. He's so over it. He's so over so many things, but he's still seeking, too. At long last, I can relate to Pierre. He's just being bombarded by insights and life. He can't help it.

"The one thing Pierre desired now with his whole soul was quickly to get away from the horrifying sensations he had undergone that day, to return to the ordinary conditions of life, and to sleep peacefully in his own bed in his own room. He felt that only in the ordinary conditions of life would he be able to understand himself and all he had seen and experienced. But these ordinary conditions were nowhere to be found." -- p. 1007

No comments: